When most people talk about the temples in Siem Reap, they are referring to the main temples in the central area like Angkor Thom, Bayon and Angkor Wat. However, the ancient city and temples covers a much wider geography.
You’ll want to spend at least a day touring those famous sites but you’ll be missing out on a special opportunity if you don’t also take the time to visit some of the temples in the outlying countryside. In large part because they are a little bit out of the way and are not as large as the more famous sites, you will also enjoy the benefit of getting away from the hordes of tourists in the central area. There will be others at these outer sites but not nearly as many people as at the central temple complex.
On this day we began our tour at the Pre Rup temple, one of the taller temples outside of the central Angkor area.
Ta Prohm temple features lots of trees growing on top of and out of the stone ruins.. This is the site prominently featured in the Lara Croft, Tomb Raider movie. It is undergoing significant restoration but with care to leave many of the trees in tact.
The Kravan temple is the smallest in this collection and also is one of the few in the area constructed primarily of brick rather than stone. It features several interesting wall paintings of Vishnu on interior walls inside of the main tower.
Next that day we visited the exquisite Banteay Srei temple; referred to as the “Citadel of the Women”. With some of the most intricate and pleasing carvings found in all of Cambodia, the glow coming off its pink sandstone is an inspiring sight. In addition to the lovely detailed carvings are some beautiful figures of monkey warrior guards side by side with human guards. If you only visit one temple outside of the central Angkor complex, this is the one.
And finally we ended our tour that day at Neak Poan, an artificial island in the middle of a water park built in the 12th century. Once finished, it was a short 15 minute drive back to the main temple complex.
Click here to see a short video taken of the Outer Temples mentioned in this article.